Let All Counties Get What They Deserve; Don’t entertain criminality and arrogance

Let All Counties Get What They Deserve; Don’t entertain criminality and arrogance

On Tuesday, the Senate adjourned debate on the county revenue sharing formula in order to build consensus on the matter. There was a proposal on the table by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja that was not only fraudulent but also populist in nature.

The Sakaja proposal purporting to create a bracket so that the first Sh.316 billion put aside for counties will be distributed not only using the old formula but also using the old demographic.

This does not solve the problem at hand, which is the equitable distribution of resources.

There is a general agreement that there was some unfairness in the distribution of resources in the last seven years using the first and second formulas, which disadvantaged some counties.

This is why the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) embarked on the overhaul of the second-generation formula as it was found to be inadequate.

One of the things that made many disagree with the second-generation formula was the reliance on the 2009 population census, which admittedly, had errors in it. This means that other parameters in the formula were also inadequate as they relied on data from the same census.

The 2019 census revealed an unexplained drop in population in several counties, undoing the mistakes in the 2009 report. It is well established that the new formula will mean a reduction in the money received in several counties and an increase in others.

The thing about population is that it does not grow at the same rate in the different counties. Therefore, it is obvious that the change in demographics will mean that some counties, regardless of what formula is employed, will receive less money than before.

The so-called One Kenya formula, which purports to promote marginalized areas, does two deplorable things. First, it will give counties money for populations they do not have. Some counties will receive up to Sh.18 billion for populations they do not have which in itself is a criminal act.

Secondly, to prop up those counties that are getting the extra money, they are deducting it from counties that were supposed to get funding in favor of others in marginalized areas. The narrative built is that money will be removed from populous counties to marginalized counties while it’s the reverse in the One Kenya formula.

As an example, for Mandera to get enough money, it will have to be removed from another county. This means that the Sakaja formula is used to marginalize the populous counties to benefit the less populated ones. Over and above being unequal, the old formula by itself was very inequitable. Sakaja’s formula entrenches inequality.

The notion being propelled that for equitable distribution to happen, counties must get the same amount that they have been getting before is fallacious. Senator James Orengo has on record spoken about equity as envisioned in the Constitution, which is the equitable sharing of revenue.

The Constitution clearly provides for the principles that must be put into consideration when allocating money to counties. One of these principles is that we must ensure that counties are able to perform their functions.

Therefore, taking money away from populous counties to feed the less populous once negates what the Constitution requires. Counties with high populations need more health facilities – education, roads et cetera – as compared to the others.

It is therefore fallacious to attempt to arm-twist the country to just throw money at marginalized counties yet the money will not be serving any particular population. One would even argue that some counties have been receiving more than their fair share of the national cake.

As senators retreat to find an answer, any settlement must ensure that all counties do what is due to them. There cannot be an arrangement where counties will not get what is due to them so that other counties can benefit

How Uhuru silenced his ‘mehe mehe’ DP through ‘Super CS’ Dr. Matiang’ i

How Uhuru silenced his ‘mehe mehe’ DP through ‘Super CS’ Dr. Matiang’ i

It is very clear from what is happening that the President is done with Deputy President William Ruto.

Reactor Review has also learned that there are plans to install Matiang’i as a Maasai elder, signaling his bid to seek broad-based support.

The man, who said no to monkey business when he was appointed the Education CS, first made headlines when he was named the first Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) CS after the 2013 General Election. 

Many did not know him then hence no one was keen to know who exactly Dr. Matiang’i was. However, for Borabu-born Fred Okengo Matiang’ i, this was an opportunity to showcase his true colors in leadership and nation-building.

In the view of many observers, this is the man who is eating Mr. Ruto’s lunch.

The government, during its second term, is structured in a totally different manner.

The partnership between the United Republican Party and The National Alliance has gone the way of the dodo and the political bromance between Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Ruto is like a fire that has consumed itself out: if you drive your hand into the ashes, you need a high degree of sensitivity to detect the slightest whiff of warmth.

The reasons for that breakdown are a story for another day. And while there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics, the partnership between the two men has been reduced to public civility and the maintenance of appearances. It is amazing the gulf between the optics and reality of Kenyan politics.

Enter Dr. Matiang’ i. Executive order No 1 of 2019 is very important in the recreation of the Jubilee government in its second term and the evolution of the so-called administrative state.

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i cancels event to avoid clashing with DP ...

Dr Matiangi with Dr William Ruto

In that document, Mr. Kenyatta appointed Dr. Matiang’ i to coordinate all government development projects and to handle the communication in respect of those projects. He took the Presidential Delivery Unit and placed it under Dr. Matiang’ i.

With his command of the provincial administration and the internal security organs sitting at his Harambee House office, Dr. Matiang’i have visibility of the entire country and its development process, from the cities to the humblest of hamlets.

With authority to chair a Cabinet sub-committee of basically all the ministers, the Executive Order created in Dr. Matiang’ i the most powerful person, at least administratively, outside of State House.

“I have had an amazing experience chairing the Cabinet committee,” he says and enthusiastically launches into a long list of achievements, from roads to boreholes in slums. According to the way he tells it, by having each ministry present to defend its projects before other Cabinet Secretaries, the projects are better thought-out and more realistic in cost.

A rider is called for here. Power in complex systems is a very relative term. There are Cabinet secretaries who have power because of their chemistry and relations with the President and there are offices that enjoy the absolute trust of the Head of State and, therefore, whose influence is not seen during the day and is not dependent on the normal operations of government. And there are those who have no formal office but who act as an extension of the presidential brain.

Conspicuously missing

On February 3, 2020, the President boarded his modest Fokker at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Presidential Pavilion headed to Washington, DC for the Annual Prayer Breakfast. Assembled to say goodbye was Dr. Matiang’i, Defence Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma, General Samson Mwathethe, then-Chief of Kenya Defence Forces and service commanders, among other worthies.

President-Uhuru-Kenyatta-with-Interior-CS-Fred-Matiangi

Conspicuously missing from the line-up was the Deputy President. After shaking hands with his usual gusto, the President headed up the stairs, having explicitly left Dr. Matiang’i in charge. And off he went, according to three sources with knowledge of government matters.

At 5am on February 4, 2020, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi placed an important, terrible call to Dr. Matiang’i. His father, Kenya’s second President, Daniel Arap Moi, was no more.

Mr. Kenyatta was determined to give Moi, who had been ailing for a long time, a send-off befitting a Head of State. It was Mr. Moi in 2002 who fished Mr Kenyatta out of relative obscurity and made him Kanu’s presidential candidate.

It fell on Dr Matiang’i to assemble military and security chiefs at Nairobi Hospital. There, a conference room was commandeered to act as the headquarters of the team. At the time, the President was still in the air but the carefully laid plan kicked into full gear, the sources said.

The body was handed over to the military and taken to Lee Funeral Home, the family was given the lead in breaking the bad news to the country. Once the former Commander-in-Chief was in the hands of the military, armed forces rituals, protocols, and procedures reigned. Throughout the mourning and finally the funeral, Dr Matiang’i was the President’s right-hand man, deputizing for him and personally inspecting preparations to ensure that everything worked right.

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Though Dr. Matiang’i’s office would not comment on this goings-on, is was very clear that the cogs of power have shifted in Jubilee.

There are two schools of thought. There are those who believe that some people have taken the chisel to the DP’s kneecaps and politically and administratively isolated him.

Then there are those who argue that the DP’s position is constitutional; it is within his power to summon all government officials and take over the operations of government whenever the President is away. Whichever school you buy into, the inescapable fact is that this is not the first term; things are way different.

The question is, who is the real Dr. Matiang’i? What is his thought process and how suited is he for the elevated responsibilities he now bears? What is his contribution to the country’s bench strength? What does democracy mean to the security minister and what is the place of human rights in his values? What is his assessment of how Kenya is managed and what does he see as an appropriate approach to filling the gaps?

Given the favoritism and corruption in the government, hasn’t the social contract between the people, to whom all power belongs, and the government been repudiated so that rather than the government serving the people, it is the people who are serving the government with their taxes, blood, and sweat and doesn’t this potentially create revolutionary conditions? From a geopolitical perspective, what is the future of our country in this unstable and complex region?

The security minister is usually the fist of any regime, the manager of the state’s monopolized violence and it is unrealistic to expect such a person to be a wilting liberal. And Dr. Matiang’i has had his fair share of controversy: the confrontation with the media during the digital migration, the establishment of the Government Advertising Agency, an unpopular agency to many journalists, the switching off of TV and radio stations during the mock swearing-in of Nasa leader Raila Odinga in January 2018, the arrests and crackdown on the so-called National Resistance Movement, the Ruai and Kariobangi evictions as well as the frequent deaths of civilians at the hands of police.

“Our intelligence gathering is now 10 times better,” he says of the reduction in terror attacks. “We have retooled and reorganized the security sector.”

Dr. Matiang’i was ebullient, as he always is, in private. He had taken the precaution of covering himself in a velvet carpet of media advisers.

A two-hour interview before TV cameras is probably the wrong forum for a subtle examination of an interviewee’s mind and it was quite clear that Dr. Matiang’i was in a difficult place in terms of being critical and outspoken about the government which he coordinates.

He’s at great pains to be a good leader, to publicly take the hit and be protective of those he leads and he is touchingly devoted to Mr. Kenyatta.

Odinga, Matiangi vow to mobilize support for BBI report during ...

Dr Matiang’i with Hon Raila Odinga in past event

On the positive side, his biggest asset is that he is obviously very effective at getting things done and squeezing results out of the people he supervises. From this administrative perspective, he probably has few equals in the Cabinet.

And, as a scholar, he is a clever and articulate fellow with a sophisticated understanding of the theory of government and rather sharp political instincts; the way he succeeds in not allowing his ambitions to peep from under the blanket of humility shows he has a future in politics.

“You can’t put everything in the Constitution. And how many people can you take to court? As citizens, we don’t have to be supervised to do the right thing,” he argues, explaining his understanding of democracy as “ethical living and being conscious of the other”. “I am the leader but I have to listen and incorporate what people say.”

But it is also quite obvious that he is still getting used to the saddle of power, is not given to public introspection, and is at a stage in his career where he does not have the full luxury of his views.

It might be premature for the people of South Nyanza to measure to fit the inauguration dresses, but this is certainly one to watch.

Mystery house! The haunted house of Ruiru

Mystery house! The haunted house of Ruiru

A reportedly haunted building in Ruiru town on the outskirts of Nairobi has been vacant for more than 30 years due to fears of jini infestation.

The Nairobian has learned that tenants who have tried to live there were forced to move out after being attacked by the jinis.

The dusty, broken windows and spacious compound are covered with weeds, while the tiled roof is overgrown with grass.

The residents have always been baffled by its grandeur, yet it is surrounded by mabati at the front and back.

Ruiru residents said the  building has been linked with jinis for many years that have been keeping tenants way.“The building has been vacant for more than 30 years and unconfirmed reports indicate that there are dark forces inside it,” claims area chief George Mwaura, who added that, “I usually pass there and I have never seen anyone”.

Patrick Kinyanjui, a boda boda rider who used to visit the building regularly when he was a child to play with his friends, recalls how he would get scared whenever he heard the Jini stories.“I used to have friends who lived in this building and they would tell me how they were beaten at night by jinis. They also used to say that there were times when they would find themselves sleeping outside in the morning. Women also started saying that they were raped by people they didn’t see”, Kinyanjui told The Nairobian.

He added that “Recently, some Nigerians came here and wanted to rent it, but they were advised not to. The building has now been turned into a store and there is a watchman manning the gate 24 hours. Some people say that the building has something that looks like a horn and an eye on the top.

They say it is a sign of the devil and are scared. ”Samuel Kimani, a conductor of one of the matatus that ply the route says the house is haunted.“Some passengers refuse to be dropped near the building during the night because they fear being attacked by the jinis. They insist on being carried by a boda boda because they don’t want to walk home alone”, he said.

According to Lucy Muthoni, a resident, the speculation of the existence of evil spirits in that building has made residents blame their misfortunes on it.“Most people here blame their misfortunes on the building. Whenever something bad happens in this area for instance, like businesses collapsing or children becoming drunkards, they claim it is mapepo from the building,” she told The Nairobian.

Pastor Meshack Okwomi of Temple of Light and Healing Ministry believes that the building should be cleaned so that the evil spirits can be cast out.“Whenever such incidences occur in buildings that have been invaded by jinis, prayers should be conducted immediately by religious leaders to cleanse it and chase the evil spirits away. Area residents should also join hands and pray because only prayers can protect them. This kind of war can only be won through prayers,” he said.

A More Prosperous and Equitable Kenya is Possible

A More Prosperous and Equitable Kenya is Possible

Though it feels like yesterday, more than two years have now passed since the famous Handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga. It was a Handshake watched around the world, and one that changed Kenya and how the world sees us forever.

Our history has been marred by tribalism and ethnic warfare, by a general lack of trust among different groups.

This has come not only from the bottom up but also from the top down. Over the past six or so decades, certain tribes were at a disadvantage based on who was representing them in Parliament and in the Executive.

While some groups kept on growing and becoming wealthier, others were relegated to the background. This was an outcome of both systemic and institutional discrepancies that served some at the expense of others, and thus increasing social inequality.

This inequality erupted in post-election violence with each election cycle. Now, Kenya is seen by the outside world as the pearl of East Africa, as a place of stability and prosperity, of strength and progress. But when it came to electing new leaders, there was chaos and all the hard work of the preceding years was undone.

This, among other deeply problematic issues in our society, is why we need to renew ourselves. It is why we need to work together to come up with a solution that benefits not some, but all Kenyans.

It started with a Handshake. Two opposing leaders, on different sides since birth, decided that the time had arrived to bury the hatchet.

Enough baggage from previous generations. This is the 21st century, and the time has come to move on. So, Uhuru offered his hand to Raila, and he took it. This was the first proof we got that these leaders are working for the good of the people, of the whole nation – and not just for their respective tribes.

After that came the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). It might be hard for some of us to fully understand, and many are still wondering exactly what it is. But it is something we need to trust in, and something we need to care about. All of the information is online. For those wondering what the BBI actually entails, they can find information on the report’s official website and join the dialogue.

To put it simply, it is a comprehensive report highlighting what Kenyans want: unity, stability, prosperity – whatever you want to label it. And in more complex terms, the BBI uses the answers provided by thousands of Kenyans, representing all different tribes, religions, ages, and walks of life regarding what they want for our country’s future.

Among other things, we need more harmony and understanding between each other, and this should lead to better representation in government. The President has taken the first step and the responsibility of initiating the change from the top down.

It is a major opportunity. And for all those who purport to want Kenya to change for the better, the BBI is exactly the chance they have been searching for. It would be foolish to reject it without understanding what it entails, or how comprehensive it is. There is too much animosity between different ethnic groups here.

Too much corruption has threatened our ability to operate as a free and fair democracy. And while the Covid-19 pandemic only adds to our problems, we have faced tougher challenges in the past. It can be overcome.

But we cannot fight it if we are not standing together. We should be embracing each other – metaphorically, of course – rather than arguing over who gets to run the show. This is a democracy, and there is only one way to run the show: together.

There will always be negative voices in the crowd, those who do not believe in the strength of unity and the power of change. Let them say what they want, for their negative energy can never overpower the energy of optimism.

And for all of us optimists in the room, all that we can do is continue to support the prospect of a prosperous Kenya, of a bright future ahead of us.

The light is already coming through the cracks in the wall, and as long as we stand together, it will only shine brighter and brighter. This is the time for every Kenyan to stand for what is just, fair and meant to make life better for all of us. It can be done. Let’s do it.

DP Ruto Irresponsibility; Ruto’s Karen Residence is Now a Centre For COVID-19 Community Transmission

DP Ruto Irresponsibility; Ruto’s Karen Residence is Now a Centre For COVID-19 Community Transmission

Delegation after delegation, women, children, old and young all trooped in into.Ruto’s Karen residence, not five years ago but in the past recent weeks. They all streamed in unfettered by a silent disease that has ravaged countries and threatening the human existence. The mini but major events were characterised by Zero social distancing and zero observance of government directives but only dorning masks it is mandatory and visible to all.

It only appeared as if the COVID-19 pandemic was unseen or allergic to the Ruto events his Karen home. Deputy President William Ruto has hosted Nairobi MP, church leaders and even held huge gatherings despite the danger it posed to the country in through community transmission. However, now the chickens have come to roost as some of the delegates have been taken captive and tested positive for the Covid-19 pandemic.

These individuals who have been visiting the Deputy Presiden’s Karen home have been streaming in from different parts of the country and considering in Karen. The Deputy President has been working on overdrive to seek relevance it a time when the country is grappling with the rise in coronavirus cases. Just the other day o. Sunday he hosted religious leaders and in another were politicians from Narok. In another Ruto has hosted another delegation where MCAs and MPs from Nyamira County.

However, now the chickens have come to roost as some of the delegates have been taken captive and tested positive for the Covid-19 pandemic. From the recent visits one delegate by the name of Muteti Murimi has come out declaring that he has tested positive for Covid-19. This he has attested was close to a week after he had met with Deputy President William Ruto at his Karen home. A move that he greatly regrets and has come out so as to alert others who have visited the Karen residence.

With the numerous delegation the DP has been hosting, there has been little attention paid to the Ministry of Health directives. His Karen residence has become a breeding ground for community transmission of the virus through the exchanges of meet and greet in the recent past.

Even the ‘small fish’ are shockingly looting from public coffers

Even the ‘small fish’ are shockingly looting from public coffers

Ideally, you wouldn’t expect a junior or even a relatively senior ministry official to be extravagantly wealthy in just a few years after employment unless they have a business with quite good returns.

But that is not the case for some.

One of them is Charles Muia Mutiso, Deputy Director of External Resources at The National Treasury. Mutiso was appointed to the position on July 16 2014 and served up to April 2020.

Between April 2015 and April 2020., investigations by the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission indicated he amassed as much as Sh36.7 million, stashed at Absa, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), and Cooperative Bank. All accounts have since been frozen.

It is for this unexplained wealth that the EACC launched a probe into misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds between the period he occupied his office.

Mutiso joined the Ministry of Finance and Planning as an economist on July 31, 2002, earning a monthly net salary of Sh144,675 as of April 30 2020 and an average net of Sh118,691 from 1st April 1, 2015, to April 30, 2020, EAC investigations show.

During this period, he earned a cumulative net income of Sh7,148,991.

EACC applied to the court for warrants to investigate accounts held in various banks by Mutiso.

On the basis of court orders, the anti-graft agency obtained bank statements in respect of the said bank accounts.

“Analysis of the flow of funds in his bank accounts revealed that he received numerous unexplained inward remittances, EFTs and cash deposits outside his salary from the National Treasury,” EACC said in a statement.

Investigations further established a pattern of frequent large cash deposits made mostly through the ATM or the dropbox.

“For instance, in June 2015, he made five cash deposits of Sh400,000 each into his account at Absa Group account amounting to Kshs 2 million over just few days,” EACC said.

These include two Absa Group accounts with Sh23.5 million and Sh5.8 million respectively. A Co-op Bank account with Sh932,000 and KCB account with Sh5.6 million.

The EACC noted that it was apparent that there is a huge disproportion between Mutiso’s assets and his known legitimate income, which he will explain as the probe continues.

But Mutiso is not a unique case or even the most shocking.

SH664 MILLION IN JUST SIX MONTHS

A former junior employee at the same ministry (National Treasury) on an Sh16,000 monthly pay reportedly made Sh664 million in just six years.

Elvine Leware Macage, who resigned in 2018, was slapped with an Sh313 million tax demand by the Kenya Revenue Authority.

According to KRA, the supposed businessman earned a salary of Sh16,772 but investigations showed he did not file tax returns for the multiple companies that did business with government raking in millions of shillings. Most of the payments were made between 2014 and 2017. KRA investigations showed Macager received Sh27.8 million for consultancy services he provided for the construction of an abattoir in September 2014, trading under Beachetts Services.

In the period between April and December 2014, Sh103.3 million was wired to his bank accounts for consultancy on veterinary and construction services.

Part of this amount, Sh27 million was not captured in the infamous Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS).

In October 2014, trading as Ndegwil Insights and Services, Macager, received Sh42.5 million for “consulting” on resource utilization.

This was a second payment, the first one of Sh19.6 million having been made to his account in July 2014. This was not also captured in IFMIS.

That’s not all. Using Endlevel Services, the “consultant” was paid Sh38 million for services on youth employment and Sh43 million for poverty mitigation consultancy under Vilekat Information in November 2014.

An audit of his lifestyle shows Macager bought a block of apartments, luxury vehicles, and toured Dubai.

NHIF RECEPTIONIST WITH SH160 MILLION HOUSES

Then there was the NHIF receptionist who bought eight houses worth Sh160 million between 2013 and 2017 at an upmarket estate in Athi River.

Fredrick Sagwe Onyancha also owned a chain of car and carpet-cleaning businesses across Nairobi valued at Sh50 million, managed by his wife whom he married at a lavish wedding held at Safari Park at a cost of Sh25 million.

He was on a salary of Sh50,000.

According to police investigations in 2018, the 39-year old first bought four houses valued at 20 million each in 2013.

He then bought top-of-the-range cars including Range Rovers and Toyota V8s.